By Nishad Pai Vaidya
You may be good enough to be an important team member for your country, but that is no guarantee that you will get a spot in the eleven for your club! It’s a cricketing truism that some talented players in the Indian Premier League (IPL) are prime examples.
Below is a list of notable overseas players who couldn’t get even a single game in IPL 2012 – the list doesn’t include players who were out due to injury:
1. Dirk Nannes, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
One of the most dangerous T20 bowlers in the world, Nannes couldn’t break into the Bangalore team that banked on foreign batsmen to lead their charge. Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers and Tillakaratne Dilshan filled three of the four overseas slots. For the fourth spot, Bangalore chose to play a spinner. Daniel Vettori played the first half, but was later replaced by Muttiah Muralitharan. In fact, there were a few games where the two tweakers played together. It was bizarre that Bangalore couldn’t fit in Nannes considering the struggle of their Indian fast bowlers. They could have bolstered their attack with his inclusion and it may have given the bowling a lot more teeth. For now, they have to live to rue all the mistakes they committed during the season.
2. Tamim Iqbal, Pune Warriors India.
There was a lot of drama surrounding Pune’s build-up into IPL-5 as the owners threatened to withdraw and didn’t participate in the auctions. Once temperatures cooled down, Pune started building a squad and one of their new signings was the Bangaldeshi opener Tamim Iqbal. The attacking left-hander was coming off a good Asia Cup campaign, but didn’t figure in any of Pune’s games throughout the season. Michael Clarke, the Australian captain was preferred despite not being a hitter. Towards the end, as it became clear that Pune wouldn’t progress through to the next round, they tried out new players. It was surprising that Tamim didn’t figure then as well.
3. Scott Styris, Chennai Super Kings.
Chennai Super Kings may not have had their best season, but they undoubtedly had the most settled unit in the IPL. Most of the spots in the team were taken and the reserve players found it difficult to get in. With a power-packed batting line-up that contained foreign stars such as Dwayne Bravo, Michael Hussey and Albie Morkel, Styris didn’t have a chance to make it into the line-up. In fact, Faf du Plessis’ success meant that he was preferred to Styris whenever required.
4. Eoin Morgan, Kolkata Knight Riders
The innovative Morgan didn’t thrill the audiences with his audacious shots as Kolkata maintained a set combination throughout the tournament. Even when they had to alter their foreign players, they only brought in Ryan ten Doeschate or Shakib Al Hasan. Morgan has been dropped from the England Test squad after a poor performance against Pakistan in the United Arab Emirates. The experience of playing may have helped Morgan get some vital experience in the sub-continent and make adjustments according to the conditions.
5. Charl Langeveldt, Royal Challengers Bangalore.
If Nannes couldn’t make it to the eleven, there was little or no chance for Langeveldt to break through. The South African has built a reputation as an accurate one-day bowler who can trouble the batsmen with nagging lengths. Having Nannes and Langeveldt in their side, one would say that Bangalore has good bowling resources. However, the main problem was that they couldn’t fit these players in due to the limit on the number of foreign players in the eleven.
6. Suraj Randiv, Chennai Super Kings.
A side that banks on spin has so much depth in their resources that Randiv has to sit out. Although he is a better bowler than Ravindra Jadeja and Shadab Jakati, it was difficult for him to replace the foreign players from the line-up as it would affect the balance of the side.
7. Nathan McCullum, Pune Warriors India
While Brendon was a part of the victorious unit, his elder brother found himself at the other end of the spectrum. The useful all-rounder who bowls off-spinners and can wield his willow didn’t figure in any of Pune’s games during their horrendous season. When it became clear that Pune weren’t going to qualify, they could have tried McCullum and allowed him the opportunity to make a mark. It would have been the ideal to give him a go as Pune could have started planning for the next season.
8. Luke Pomersbach, Royal Challengers Bangalore
Pomersbach was in the news during the IPL 2012, but it had nothing to do with his exploits on the field. The IPL’s lowest point came when Pomersbach was accused of molesting a woman and was detained by the police. The whole controversy may have been sorted out later, but it left a very bad taste in the mouth. Even though it was the player’s personal mistake, the tournament came under the shadow of the string of controversies. Siddhartha Mallya’s tweets also didn’t help the cause.
(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a club-level cricketer with an analytic mind and a sharp eye. It was this sharpness which spotted a wrong replay in IPL4 resulting in Sachin Tendulkar’s dismissal. Some of his analytical pieces have come in for high praise from cerebral former cricketers. Nishad can also be followed on Twitter)